Ponder in Your Heart
Purpose in your heart...
A few days ago I was talking with a friend in the phone. As we chatted the question came up about faith and whether or not my faith has changed because of what has happened to our family. Interestingly enough, this same question came up in an email with another friend a few days before this conversation.
My friend on the phone said that his question came because, as he has been studying the early communities of faith, he realized that from 30 AD to 70 AD a lot changed within the structure. Within one generation there were questions and Paul had to address issues that previously were not even a thought in the mind of the communities. His question was, " How, in one generation, did things begin to collapse?" We all realize that by the time Constantine came on the scene, it seemed to be quite easy for these communities to walk away from anything that was part of Torah. Suddenly the festivals established by God were seen as "Jewish" and began to be banned.
As I reflected on what to say, the following thoughts came forth. I realized that I wanted to get them down on paper the best I could because I think it is something we all need to reflect on. It's the idea of "purpose in our hearts."
In Israel, following the festivals and Shabbat, what I believe to be the calendar that God ordained, is easy. These celebrations are part of their way of life and the only country in the world to actually consider them to be the foundation upon which God established His relationship with man. Now, I know that many in the land only follow them as tradition and do not recognize God for Who He is, but the fact that the country was established on following the celebrations of Torah makes it easy to participate.
Since we have been removed from Israel and live in a country that follows holidays established by man, our family has to "purpose in our hearts" to follow the calendar God created. We have to set Shabbat aside each week. We have to set the day a side to celebrate Passover. We have to focus on the counting of the Omer as we anticipate Shavuot Pentecost and the giving of the Holy Spirit.
Many times since I have been here, I have reflected on the lives of Joseph, Daniel, and the many who were "scattered among the nations." As I ponder on the early communities of faith and the fact that they fled to Cyprus, Crete, Greece and on to Rome, and that Gentiles were joined into the communities, I can easily understand how these communities began to struggle and "walked away" from the foundations of Torah. Just as today we often "give in" to culture instead of taking the Word of God for what it means, many early communities of faith began to rationalize away the following of Torah and allowed the practices of pagan culture to govern their daily lives and beliefs. Instead of face persecution, they would cave to the practices of the day.
It only took one generation. It was only a short amount of time before the calendar of God and the message of Jesus Christ was considered "Jewish practices" instead of viewed as God's establishment for all mankind. Paul's words were twisted and interpreted to mean that Gentiles did not have to follow the words given by God to the Jews. These early communities of faith slowly became more "culturally relevant" rather than continue in the Words and calendar God gave to Moses many years before.
Today, as we are raising our children, we must "purpose in our hearts" to strengthen them to follow the foundation [Hayesod] given by God rather than the traditions of men. We must strengthen their faith in what the Word says instead of the cultural relevances of the day. We must ground them in Torah and the true teachings of Jesus and Paul, giving them the ability to stand up for what they believe so they can defend what is Truth.
It is time to stop giving in to the culture of the day and return to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob Who was, Who is, and Who is to come.